The weather is growing chilly and the trees are changing colors – it’s officially time to close your pool! Once the temperatures consistently dip below 65 degrees, you can start preparing your pool for the winter months. These eight steps will ensure your pool is protected against freezing weather and ready for fun in the spring.
1) Clear Off Deck
Clear off your pool deck for the same reason you clear off your patio – pool equipment isn’t designed to be exposed to Iowa winters. Remove all skimmers, hoses, diving boards, and ladders.
2) General Cleanup
Do a deep clean on your pool at the end of every season. The cleaner your pool is when you close it, the cleaner it will be when you open it. If you leave any organics or bacteria in the water, they will spawn algae growth and eat up all your chlorine. You don’t want your swimming pool to look like a swamp in the spring!
3) Test Water
Test your water in the fall, even though it won’t be used over the winter. To keep bacteria at bay until the pool reopens, we typically recommend bringing chlorine levels up to 5 ppm. If you have a liner or fiberglass pool, however, you should consult with the manufacturer.
Winter chemicals also have an added bonus – you don’t need to do monthly testing in the off season, especially once ice forms.
4) Partially Drain Water
In Iowa, you only need to do a partial drain at closing. If the pool is completely empty, harsh temperatures can damage exposed elements.
Water in the pool is also necessary for structural integrity. This is because as the ground contracts and expands during freeze-thaw cycles, it can push the pool walls inward if there is no water to resist that pressure.
As a general rule of thumb, drain your pool several inches below the lowest return.
5) Add Winter Chemicals
These winter treatments help chlorine stay active in the water. Remember that bacteria love to thrive in warm water – if you’ve already closed your pool but temperatures are still above 65 degrees, the chlorine is going to dissipate at a faster rate. Winter chemicals means your pool will have a sanitizer to fight off bacteria and algae.
6) Blow Lines
You also need to blow out skimmer lines with an air compressor. This step can be intimidating for homeowners but it gets easier with practice. Blowing out the lines removes any standing water from your pipes. You must also add antifreeze for extra protection.
7) Insert Winterizing Plugs
These plugs are inserted into skimmer returns and sometimes main drains. They are similar to a bathtub stopper, but their purpose is to seal openings and hold antifreeze in the lines. This prevents water from getting into the piping and damaging it during freeze-thaw cycles.
8) Install Pool Cover
The last step is installing your winter cover! If you have a tarp version, you’ll need to routinely clear off any accumulated debris, snow, or ice. Otherwise the weight could break the cover and dump everything into your water. You may want to consider a mesh version, which you can read about in our Quick Guide to Pool Covers.
Because every pool is unique, we recommend that you have a licensed and qualified pool professional help you with proper closing. Call us today to schedule!